Distilling Knowledge

Distilling Knowledge

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Alchemy can't be science--common sense tells us as much. But perhaps common sense is not the best measure of what science is, or was. In this book, Bruce Moran looks past contemporary assumptions and prejudices to determine what alchemists were actually doing in the context of early modern science. Examining the ways alchemy and chemistry were studied and practiced between 1400 and 1700, he shows how these approaches influenced their respective practitioners' ideas about nature and shaped their inquiries into the workings of the natural world. His work sets up a dialogue between what historians have usually presented as separate spheres; here we see how alchemists and early chemists exchanged ideas and methods and in fact shared a territory between their two disciplines. qDistilling Knowledgeq suggests that scientific revolution may wear a different appearance in different cultural contexts. The metaphor of the Scientific Revolution, Moran argues, can be expanded to make sense of alchemy and other so-called pseudo-sciences--by including a new framework in which qprocess can count as an object, in which making leads to learning, and in which the messiness of conflict leads to discernment.q Seen on its own terms, alchemy can stand within the bounds of demonstrative science.times described as a€œwaters, a€ such as the highly corrosive a€œstrong watera€ ( aquafortis or nitric acid), and sometimes as ... Nevertheless, with their help the entire mineral kingdom could be added to the list of potential medicines, and the fifth ... Brunschwig thus linked alchemy with the process of separating the pure, medicinal parts of a substance from parts that were considered harmful, poisonous, or impure.

Title:Distilling Knowledge
Author:Bruce T. MORAN, Bruce T Moran
Publisher:Harvard University Press - 2009-06-30


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